In preparation for the launch of an iPad OS app, Capture One is discontinuing the separate branded versions of its photo editor, including Capture One for Fujifilm, Capture One for Nikon, and Capture One for Sony. The company says each of these camera brands are supported in Capture One Pro 22 and that moving to a single program will help prepare for upcoming launches, including an iPad version. The move to one program, the company says, is to prepare for upcoming launches including the iPad app, which the company teased last year for arrival in “early 2022.” The change is also preparing for Capture One Live, a beta program that takes tethering one step further and allows shoots to be viewed live from anywhere with an internet connection. The Capture One family is now simpler but also pricier for some users.
Capture One Pro 22 already supports RAW files and color profiles for Fujifilm, Nikon, and Sony. One of the headlining features of version 22, in fact, is that the software has hand-calibrated camera profiles for more than 500 cameras. This, Capture One says, creates more vibrant colors and crisper images. While a few years ago the software didn’t offer in-camera profiles across all the major camera brands, now even Fujifilm users can select the camera’s different color profiles to apply to the RAW file. As a new Fujifilm convert primarily for color, this is the first step in my editing process and a non-negotiable feature I need in any editing software. But, Capture One is going to need to have some key features when the iPad app launches in order to avoid alienating some users. Here’s what I’m hoping to see in the upcoming iPad app.
A Budget-Friendly Alternative?
By axing the brand-specific versions, Capture One has eliminated its budget-friendly option. Will the iPad app replace it, serving as a more affordable way to use the software? Or, is Capture One going to price the app with the current Windows and Mac software? Only time will tell. But, there will likely be some photographers a bit miffed about the change.
Discontinuing the brand-specific program makes the software pricier for photographers who only shoot with one camera brand. For example, a perpetual license for Capture One Pro is $299, but the same license for Capture One Pro Fujifilm was $199. In a way, this was the company’s budget-friendly software. But, unlike choices like Photoshop Express, the brand-specific programs still offered the full gamut of features. An iPad version could potentially serve as a gateway into the program, enticing beginners with a lower price.
Capture One is acknowledging this price difference. Photographers with the latest version of Capture One for Fujifilm / Nikon / Sony (version 22) will receive Capture One Pro for free on April 5th. Owners of older versions of the branded software can upgrade to the full Capture One Pro for the same upgrade price as the branded version until April 18th. Subscribers get a lucky break — the price will remain the same for as long as the subscription is active. There’s no deadline that raises the price, but if branded version subscribers cancel at any time, they’ll be paying the full price if they sign up again later.
A simplified Capture One line could also help move updates along faster. If Capture One developers are only writing code for desktop and mobile, perhaps updates will come at a faster pace. Or, at the very least, updates won’t slow down after the app launch. Often, if I’m testing a newly released camera, I have no choice but to use Lightroom because Adobe is often the first with RAW support for new cameras. More frequent updates would be welcome to many photographers using the Capture One system.
One of the things that annoy me about Capture One on the desktop is the catalog size. My Capture One Pro catalog takes up more than 200 GB, while a Lightroom catalog with 3,000 more images takes up less than 500 MB and hasn’t yet breached one GB. To be successful on an iPad, Capture One can’t be a space hog. Storage space goes quick on mobile devices. Hopefully, downloading the app won’t mean constantly filling up the device.
A Seamless Transition
One of the largest complaints, when Adobe created a version of Photoshop for the iPad, was the number of missing features. While the goal is eventually to have a similar list of tools, building a Photoshop iPad OS app comparable to what’s possible on macOS has been a slow process. If Capture One manages to launch an app that has most of the desktop features, it will likely see a successful launch. Of course, using a touchscreen device requires a completely different user experience. Ideally, the app should be easy for current Capture One users to jump into without relearning many tools and settings.
The idea of a seamless transition applies to the photographer’s workflow as well. Ideally, I can start editing an image on my computer, then draw out the masks with an Apple pencil on my iPad. Or, quickly swipe to star picks for a fast iPad cull, then jump over to the desktop for full editing. Either way, the catalogs will need to talk to each other, which, of course, means cloud storage.
Focus on Color and Noise
One of the things I think Capture One tends to have the edge on is color and de-noising algorithms. Its use of layers is another stand-out feature. If Capture One has to pick and choose which features make it to the iPad app, please make sure the layers, de-noise algorithms, and the color editing tool (complete with the skin tone options) make the cut. When building the iPad app, Capture One needs to focus on the features that are better than the competition or that the competition doesn’t offer. That will be especially true if the iPad app is a stand-alone app.
While the iPad app doesn’t yet have a launch date, Capture One for Fujifilm / Nikon / Sony does have an ending in sight. Capture One is going to continue to provide feature updates for the branded versions until they move on to Capture One 23. Bug fix-style updates will be maintained for two years. Capture One Pro 22’s list of compatible cameras is available here, while artists ready to update before the discount expires can visit the update page.